We haven't posted anything here in almost four years. Part of that was getting busy with Tammy's recovery and the after-affects of her illness. Much of the reason was that there were no major milestones that hadn't happened the first time around.
Tammy's health really has gotten steadily better over the time since our last post. She outgained herself in the growth of her numbers from the first time. As we stated in the last post in August of 2013, she was able to go back to church in about half the time. She has experienced relatively little adversity since the very first stages of her recovery. But her progress has been slow and steady, and although we posted on Facebook, we didn't take the time to do so here.
If this is your only contact with us, I apologize for not keeping you up to date. We appreciate all the prayers that have been lifted up in her/our behalf.
Let me catch you up on our lives since August 2013.
Tammy's first battle with Leukemia, originating in the fall of 2008, set us back financially. We had almost dug out of that hole when her Leukemia returned with a vengeance. We rushed her back to the hospital with no regard to the financial cost. But, as you can imagine, it was a major blow. We ended up having to file bankruptcy later that fall.
However, before you feel sorry for us, we should tell you that the bankruptcy was a blessing. Through that process, we discovered that our basement was filled with mold because of water damage that we had ignored during her first bout with this terrible disease. Had we not had to file bankruptcy, we wouldn't have moved out of our house, and she might not be with us today.
We have some very dear friends, Neal and Jodi, who allowed us to move into their finished basement for almost a year. They welcomed us as if we were family. Eventually we found a place of our own, and our landlords are wonderful Christian people as well. They treat us like family too (you might be picking up a theme here).
Tammy never felt sorry for herself during this journey. She always looked at it as an opportunity to share God's love for her. She doesn't have the stamina to work full-time anymore. Being on her feet for more than a couple of hours leaves her fatigued. As she likes to say, "There's a nap for that."
But that doesn't keep her from having an impact on others. For the past three years, she has done exactly that as a mentor in the KU Cancer Center's Bone-Marrow Transplant Mentorship Program. Three days a week she volunteers at the cancer center, encouraging new patients. Because she's a volunteer, she can share her faith. Her sweet smile is a blessing to everyone, doctors and nurses included.
Our family grew by one in September of 2015 when our first grandchild was born. Coraline June was born to our daughter, Julie, and her husband, Erich. Yes, being grandparents is as amazing as you've heard! They live in Louisville, which is too far away, but we manage to see them 3-4 times a year. Here is a picture of us with Cora from this past March.
Our family will grow by one more next month as our son, David Lee, gets married to a beautiful young lady who loves the Lord! We can't wait to officially welcome Rebekah into the family, but she's already "one of us." Here's a picture of Tammy with David and Rebekah taken last month.
The main reason we're posting now is recently reaching a couple of major milestones. First of all, Tammy celebrated her fifth "birthday" on May 16. Though there is never a guarantee, the doctors told us that if she lived for five years after her transplant, she was pretty much in the clear. The picture of her with David and Rebekah was taken that night. I think it's safe to say that she is not only surviving; she's thriving!
Then last Thursday we found out the identity of her second donor. The first time we found out fairly quickly, but this time we had almost given up that we would ever be able to thank him personally. On her fifth anniversary of her transplant we tried to reach out one last time. Last week we got an email with the identity of Warren from North Carolina. Last Friday night, Tammy got to spend an hour on the phone with this humble man. He said he had been praying for her without knowing anything about her. He didn't want to contact her because he didn't want to appear that he was fishing for compliments.
We are forever grateful to Warren for his willingness to step up and save Tammy. He didn't know her, but he answered the call to save a life. Here's his picture, so you can have a face to go with your prayers of thanksgiving.
I asked Warren if I could share information about him, and he responded, "I'm glad I was in the position to do it and that our Lord chose me." He wanted other people to know that they could save a life as well, and he strongly encourages you to register with the National Marrow Donor Program (www.bethematch.org). We agree!
Thanks for letting us ramble. We still thank God for you regularly for your willingness to be a part of our prayer family (there's that theme again). We hope that God will use you in a mighty way to spread His Word!